WhatsApp may display ads to you, says the CEO of WhatsApp.
The company has made it clear that it has no plans to put ads in the inbox. But it could show up in other parts of the app, like WhatsApp’s “Status” feature, which works like Instagram tales.
WhatsApp has long refused to add ads to any part of its service. That makes it different from Meta sites like Instagram and Facebook, which have a lot of ads built in.
There have been rumors for a long time that WhatsApp might add ads to its app. The earliest talks go back five years. But it has mostly fought the urge, in part because it is worried about how it would affect privacy-conscious users, whom WhatsApp has specifically targeted.
The Financial Times said in September that they were thinking about changing that. The paper noted that the company was testing whether or not putting ads in the chat list would work.
Meta firmly said it hadn’t been trying or working on that feature and had no plans to do so. “This is not what we are doing,” WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart said on Twitter.
But in a talk with the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, Mr. Cathcart was asked if the app would stay free and not have ads. He also said that some ads could show up in other parts of the site.
The app won’t put ads in the “messaging experience,” like the inbox or the talks themselves. It might appear in different parts of the app instead, like the Status section or the brand-new Channels feature that lets users subscribe to posts from creators.
He also said that the company could add the option to charge people to subscribe to those programs. That could also be promoted on those channels.
Not only did he not say for sure when the feature would be added, but he also did not promise that it would be added.